The way Osees were playing, it felt like a crowd-surfer was about to kick you in the neck. That was impossible, unless your living room gets wild during livestreams – but for a crowdless show with actual cricket noises, their performance was thrillingly hard-hitting and moshable. Cali’s name-shifting (formerly Oh Sees, Thee Oh Sees, The OhSees, etc) and prolific (20+ albums) garage rockers can clearly crank up the energy without an audience present, having crushed their recent gig at Henry Miller Library in Big Sur. If you missed the livestream on Saturday night, no sweat, because you can still check it out until January 1st and even get your hands on some of that exclusive merch. The holiday lights strung about the grassy outdoor setting cast a warm glow on the precise movements of the group – comprised of John Dwyer (vocals, guitar), Tim Hellman (bass), Dan Rincon (drums), Paul Quattrone (drums) and Tomas Dolas (keyboards). As the meticulous Rincon/Quattrone beats snapped into place, we were once again reminded how addictive it is to watch a double-drummer rhythm section in action. With heightened intensity thanks to Dwyer’s strong vocals, Osees’ driving riffs yank you forward like you’re riding an inner tube tied to a speedboat.
Playing fourteen of their own songs and an encore of six covers, they made sure to sprinkle in some treats. This show marked the live debut for three songs: “I Can’t Pay You to Disappear,” “Voice in the Mirror,” and “Dead Medic.” Osees also dusted off two rarities: “Opposition” (first time since 2010) and “Heavy Doctor” (first time since 2011). Clocking in at just over an hour, their performance was focused and fast with very few interjections. Appropriately, John Dwyer’s first comment (after seven songs) was a joke about their rapid transitions. Seconds after the savage “Gholü” ended, he urged impatiently, “Alright, here we go!” to startle his bandmates. Laughing, he said, “I’m just kidding! That’s what they were doing to Roky Erickson when I saw them perform. Every time he would go to take a sip, they’d be like, ‘1234!’ and he’d quickly bend over to put down his Gatorade. And everyone in the crowd was like, ‘Let Roky have a sip of Gatorade for Christ’s sake.’” Asking if drummer Dan Rincon had gotten his sip of beer in time, Dwyer then suggested, “We should just soak that mask in beer.”
Dwyer’s last comment of the night was more serious, but it still came with a smile. “Wonder what’s going to be going on in America two months from now. Good luck out there, everybody.” He then stuck a whistle and a recorder in his mouth and, with ease, began playing them both to kick off the live debut of “Dead Medic.” The all-cover encore came next, and its start was straight fire as they thrashed through four Black Flag songs: “Nervous Breakdown,” “Jealous Again,” “Wasted,” and “Fix Me.” Closing out the show, Osees took a musical trip to Sweden and Germany, taking on Liket Lever’s “Levande Begravd” and Faust’s “J’ai Mal Aux Dents.” Of course, the desire for more arrived as soon as their high-impact show came to a close (replay button to the rescue).
Article: Olivia Isenhart